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Drones are humanitarian, misnamed, says General Atomics

But why did the company give them the name "Predator"?

Predator drone
Predator drone

The United Kingdom is holding a select committee inquiry into remote-controlled warfare. San Diego's General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the big drone-maker, submitted a paper, complaining that the word "drone" has pejorative connotations. Indeed, that word "belies their proven beneficial role in humanitarian crises," says the company.

Drones can be used in search-and-rescue, drug enforcement, border control, and surveillance, says General Atomics, pointing out the peaceful purposes, according to The Guardian. But a human rights group named Reprieve asks "Should a firm which produces armed, flying robots with names like Predator and Reaper really be surprised that they are not considered to be humanitarian by the public?"

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Predator drone
Predator drone

The United Kingdom is holding a select committee inquiry into remote-controlled warfare. San Diego's General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the big drone-maker, submitted a paper, complaining that the word "drone" has pejorative connotations. Indeed, that word "belies their proven beneficial role in humanitarian crises," says the company.

Drones can be used in search-and-rescue, drug enforcement, border control, and surveillance, says General Atomics, pointing out the peaceful purposes, according to The Guardian. But a human rights group named Reprieve asks "Should a firm which produces armed, flying robots with names like Predator and Reaper really be surprised that they are not considered to be humanitarian by the public?"

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Comments
31

Can't really call them Big Bird. Need a "launch" party to celebrate the new image. Superman?

Dec. 19, 2013

shirleyberan: For shame, Shirley. Wonder Woman. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 19, 2013

Point well taken, Don. When those names were assigned, there was not a soft public relations side to it. And they may have allowed some nerd bird designer-types to come up with tough sounding and sinister names for them. Now they probably rue those decisions. How about the "Blue" Bird and the "Blue" Jay? Fits with the owners, doesn't it?

Then there's the menacing appearance of the drones, and the one shown in the photo has this bulge where the cockpit would usually be, but is has no glass, no eyes, no face. Rather spooky, I'd say.

Dec. 19, 2013

Visduh: Precisely. If General Atomics complains the drones are misnamed, who named them? When "Predator" was selected, the military was probably the only market the company contemplated. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 19, 2013

These planes could do the Lord's work in Mexico taking out drug traffickers. In a year or two the entire drug cartel could be wiped out with Hell Fire missiles launched from Predators.

Dec. 19, 2013

Maybe they could do that, but would the rotten Mexican government ever take such a hard-nosed approach? I really doubt that. Their government can be very hard on small fry, but goes lightly with those who have money, ill-gotten or otherwise. What can be done and what will be done are so often very different things.

Dec. 19, 2013

Visduh: I know some other countries that go lightly on those who have money, ill-gotten or otherwise. You live in one of those countries. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 19, 2013

Agreed. Most, if not all, countries have unequal justice before the law. It's also a fact that the legal system in Mexico is sluggish, rife with corruption, and likely to be influenced by the politicians in power to a far greater degree than anything we experience here.

Dec. 23, 2013

Visduh: I agree that while our judicial system is tilted toward those with money, ill-gotten or otherwise, I also agree that Mexico is worse. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 23, 2013

Burwell: And how many innocent people would be wiped out, too? The same goes for the company's idea for using drones to patrol the border. What about collateral damage? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 19, 2013

The Predator could take out a narcotraficante while he's driving down the freeway alone. The hit would be clean and quick with no collateral damage. The Federales could put out a press release claiming the car was struck by a thunderbolt. Plausible deniability. No one would be the wiser.

Dec. 19, 2013

Burwell: The military often claims that a hit is clean and quick with no collateral damage until we find out otherwise. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 20, 2013

"Drones are humanitarian,"

depends on which end of the device you are on.

Dec. 20, 2013

Murphyjunk: Amen. Some Afghans can attest to that. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 20, 2013

Don - I looked at her superpower arsenal (Wikipedia) and I think it fits. Justice league too.

Dec. 20, 2013

shirleyberan: If the shoe fits, wear it. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 20, 2013

Gonna need a smaller flying robot.

Dec. 20, 2013

shirleyberan: Be sure it is a humanitarian one. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 20, 2013

If all drones were like dragonflies or pizza-size, they wouldn't seem so menacing and it wouldn't matter what they're called. As it is, they are aptly named.

Dec. 20, 2013

monaghan: If drones were pizza-size, how many frisbees would be shot out of the air by representatives of the Pentagon? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 20, 2013

Maybe VWBug sized. Remember the Jettsons? Enough of this freeway traffic, and make it affordable. Not just for war anymore.

Dec. 21, 2013

shirleyberan: Picture a society in which not only are all your phone calls, emails, and other social electronic messages recorded and stored by the government, but drones will be constantly flying over your home, patrolling your neighborhood.

George Orwell: prescient again. And such a society is almost here. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 21, 2013

Helicopters are patrolling and flying low over my neighborhood already, I'm not paranoid and I adapt, really don't see criminality on the mend. Probably will give gun enthusiasts an excuse to compete harder though. Won't that light up the sky.

Dec. 21, 2013

shirleyberan: Maybe next year there will be a bowl game called the Snooper Bowl featuring helicopters vs. drones. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 21, 2013

viewer: You select your own limits. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 21, 2013

viewer - To things I know I have no control over, not just this government monitoring society electronically, but other governments can do it to, remotely or internally. I don't think there is or will be much privacy.

Dec. 21, 2013

shirleyberan: On the subject of privacy, you certainly had no control. In fact, you had little if any knowledge about the activities until some courageous people brought it out in the open. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 21, 2013

A "drone" is an aircraft that's piloted remotely. That's it. It does not have to be armed with Hellfire missiles. Drones can be, are, and will be used for many things.

I swear, some of the people who are constantly crying about "drones" would ignore the exact same attack if it was carried out by a manned aircraft. UAV hits a terrorist camp, and it's "Oh God no, DRONES DRONES DRONES!" F/A-18 hits a terrorist camp… and nothing. And most of these "wedding parties" are terrorist meetings… the enemy knows to pretend to be something innocuous so that American liberals will cry when they're killed.

Dec. 23, 2013

jnojr: I remember the so-called wedding parties that were hit by the U.S. But I do not remember the U.S. stating that the wedding parties were in fact terrorist huddles. If you can remember our military making such a statement, please post it. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 23, 2013

On channel 10 news at some point they said it, but could be either side lie.

Dec. 23, 2013

shirleyberan: I just haven't heard that the Pentagon said that the wedding party was actually a secret meeting of terrorists. But perhaps I missed the statement. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 23, 2013

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